The global outbreak of COVID-19 has touched each and every one of us already; social distancing or social isolation are keeping us apart from the people we love, and upcoming events and plans have been cancelled. Sadly, community gardening is not immune, and in line with UK Government advice, group activities are no longer considered safe.
The health of volunteers, individuals and groups working in RHS community and school gardening programmes is our first priority, and as a result the following changes have been made:
- In response to Government and NHS advice on the coronavirus, this year’s Britain in Bloom UK Finals will not be going ahead.
- The 2020 RHS Grow Social initiative, to bring people together through plants, has been suspended. We're hoping there may be an opportunity to resume these later in the year.
- All scheduled RHS Campaign for School Gardening training courses have been cancelled. Please see all changes to the school gardening programme here.
- This year’s RHS Greening Great Britain community outreach programme has been suspended until it's safe to carry out the projects. We'll review the situation later in the year.
- All regional or national Bloom or It’s Your Neighbourhood participants should visit their independent competition websites, or contact their coordinators for up-to-date information on competitions for 2020.
- See a full update on all RHS COVID-19 information here.
- Please refer to UK Government and NHS guidelines for up to date advice on COVID-19.
Ways to stay connected
Fortunately for most of us, there are plenty of ways to get close to nature and stay in touch with each other during the coronavirus crisis – from sharing seedlings in a safe location with neighbours to digitally comparing signs of spring in pictures with friends.
We're working on compiling a range of activities, inspiration and tips to keep you going during this challenging time, but for now here are a few to consider:
- Design a secret garden – despite the film release date being pushed back, the Secret Garden competition remains open and could be a great activity for children and young people to do at home
- Getting crops started – you might be thinking of getting crops or flowers started to plant out later in the year or to share with others so they can grow their own too - there's a wealth of information on the RHS website to get you started
- Support a local nursery or garden centre – consider buying plants from a local nursery as they often offer locally grown plants that will do well in your area and many are offering online or phone sales for collection or delivery at the moment
- Join our Wild About Gardens campaign – a joint initiative between the RHS and the Wildlife Trusts, to turn our 24 million gardens into a network of nature reserves. This year, we're calling on people to grow a Secret Butterfly Garden, as part of a partnership to celebrate the new film adaptation of The Secret Garden. You might not be able to grow a community butterfly garden, but could you plant a butterfly border or planter if you have a bit of space at home? Let us know what you've grown by adding your butterfly garden to our online map and inspire others to do the same
- Plan your wildlife garden – if you're keen to make your gardens more wildlife friendly, get five top tips from RHS Senior Horticulture Advisor and wildlife gardening expert, Helen Bostock, in this 10 minute video
In the meantime, do stay safe and keep in touch to let us know how you’re getting on via Twitter @RHSBloom, @RHSschools or email us.
More ideas and inspiration...
- Discover the many ways gardens and gardening can make us feel better, particularly in these challenging times